Childhood Dreams

Have you any as-yet-unfulfilled childhood dreams?  Perhaps it’s the recent popularity of books urging us towards ‘Fifty things to do / places to go before you die’ that’s got me thinking.  Or maybe it’s the comment I heard yesterday from positive psychologist Professor Neil Frude: ‘Life is a short-break holiday from being dead!’ Either way I guess it’s time to put my skates on and get on with a few of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences that I’ve always promised myself.  But first let’s see which ones I can tick off already . . .

As a child I was fascinated by the wonders of the night sky and loved to read books about astronomy – I was a geek! My dear old dad indulged this passion and although he wasn’t able to overrule my mother’s bedtime curfew and let me stay up to see legendary astronomer Patrick Moore on The Sky at Nighthe did occasionally secretly wake me from a nice warm bed to gaze sleepily up at the frost-sharpened January skies and pick out the jewels in Orion’s belt.     Continue reading

The Great Outdoors

One of the best remedies for a low mood or a touch of the blues has got to be to get outside, get moving and breathe some fresh air – it’s hard to stay grumpy in the great outdoors.   There’s something about escaping into nature that helps get things into perspective and brings mind and body into harmony, while simply noticing the sights, sounds and smells around you can be very uplifting.

I guess it’s easy for me to say as I live in England’s most scenic county (no arguing at the back).  I’m never far from a breath-taking view of our fells, lakes or forests, which have a different aspect each time depending on the weather and the season.  This weekend saw our annual pilgrimage to a secret wood where the bluebells bloom in profusion at this time of year, scenting the air with a delicious hyacinth perfume.  We got the camera out and retraced the same paths we’ve taken over the years, alone or with friends, with babies in backpacks and slow-paced toddlers, or growing boys running on ahead.  Each one a treasured snapshot of shared and joyful times.    Continue reading

Good Mood Food

I once knew a man who said he wished they’d hurry up and invent a spaceman-style nutrition pill which he could swallow three times a day in place of meals – he reckoned the whole business of shopping, cooking and eating was just a tiresome bother that a more advanced society would do away with.  Needless to say I thought he was already on another planet. To me food is a daily pleasure, and usually at the heart of the most relaxed and enjoyable times spent with family and friends.

I do realise not everyone shares my enthusiasm – I remember once being invited to lunch at the home of a new friend.  On the way I indulged in happy little fantasies of what she might have prepared – perhaps some delicious home-made soup . . . or a delicate herb-flecked omelette . . . or simply a platter of well-chosen treats from the deli, with a crusty artisan loaf  . . . I came sharply down to earth ten minutes later, when I was given a sliced white and processed cheese sandwich with a slightly stale packet of crisps.   Too late I realised that food just isn’t as important to some people as it is to me. Continue reading

Music for the soul

Music has got to be up there in my top three happiness boosts.  I love music: pop, rock, classical, folk, country, blues, gospel, soul, jazz, punk, reggae – heck, I can even handle a little bit of rap.

But best of all I love live music.  There’s something magical about listening to someone sing or play in real time, whether it’s being part of a huge crowd at a festival, or just a gang of friends round the campfire.  Much as I love a polished performance by a famous band, I get just as much pleasure from squeezing in to one of our locals for a sing-song, especially if it’s Kendal’s quirkiest little pub – the only one in England on consecrated ground, so ideal for worshippers of real ale.

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Spring into happiness

Spring is proceeding in its usual fits and starts here in the Lake District.  Last month we bypassed it altogether and went straight from winter to a summer heatwave.  For a week it felt like a little miracle to be able to shed our fleecy jackets and boots in favour of last year’s shorts and sandals, hardly able to believe the March madness of wall-to-wall sunshine in the rush to get out the sun-loungers and barbecues.

Of course it couldn’t last – a snow-laden blast from the north soon reminded us of the capricious nature of spring.  Nevertheless, with the fields full of frisky young lambs, Wordsworth’s daffodils waving in the breeze and the trees budding with fresh green leaves, the sense of new life and regeneration is energising.

It always strikes me that spring is a much better time of year to be motivated to make plans and resolutions that gloomy old January, when the temptation to hunker down with the left-over Christmas cake is a much more attractive proposition that starting that diet, taking up jogging or cutting out the booze.

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Welcome to The Happiness Kit Bag

Hello, I’m Kay Cook – happy to meet you!

Pack up your troubles in your old kit bag – here’s a new kit bag stuffed full of tips, ideas, and support to help you release the power of happiness in yourself and others.  And happiness matters – find out why here.  

I’m a coach, trainer and facilitator with a special interest in health, happiness and wellbeing.  Please visit my pages to find out more about me and the professional services I can offer to individuals, groups and organisations.

Having conversations about things that really matter is important to me.  One of the aims of this blog is to have a forum to share my thoughts on happiness and to hear back from you so that we can create a whole kit bag of ideas, tips and personal experiences which can benefit us all.  It was inspired by this quotation from Robert Holden in his book Happiness Now:

‘Nothing in the world can make you happy; everything in the world can encourage you to be happy’.

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